[DFW] Arlington Area Gems
(So this thread won't totally die) What are YOUR favorite Arlington dives?
A conundrum: I've lived here in Arlington all of my life. I have pretty much eaten everything there is to eat here-- or SO I THINK!
I'm looking for a place to go to with my dad. My dad... is a creature of habit, and the kind of person who will surprise you with a special dinner at... Taco Bueno. I love him quite a lot, but obviously he needs... culinary help. Heres the kicker: he will not go if it is too far or too pricey. So, while I've gotten him out to LOVELY little local gems (such as Don Julios* and Steve's Garden Grill in Mansfield, and Fishbone Grill in Arl) I'm looking for something DIFFERENT. He lives right by Mercado Juarez on I-20 and Matlock, and among that, his usual favorites are: Candlelight Inn, Campo Verde, Joe Ed's Bomber, and (haha) Taco Cabana. Theres always the chains, but who wants those?
I routinely drive to Denton, Fort Worth, HEB, Carrollton, Addison, and Dallas to eat... so it's a little hard to think locally (when I consider NRH close).
My mom is an adventurous lady from Hawaii, so no probs there-- but she also can't think of a different place to take dad to.
So, anyone up for the challenge?
*please, go here. Their shredded chicken is so amazing. I get the chicken tostada and ask for sliced avocados, but my best friend gets the golfos and they are incredible too.
Olenjack’s. Maybe I was there on a bad day. Maybe not.
Unfortunately, any redeeming quality of my weekday lunch was totally overshadowed with the worst restaurant service that I’ve ever received. EVER. ANYWHERE. From walking in the door and the hostess taking us to the bar, at a tiny bar table, to eat – when there were a number of open tables available in the main dining room, to consistently slow service throughout the meal, to the waiter literally walking away as we were placing our dessert table (our neighbors at the table next to us had to laugh on that one!) to canceling our dessert order after waiting over 15 minutes for it to arrive, to the waiter arguing about cancellation of said dessert order.
So on to the food, keeping in mind that the arrival of each item required an inordinately long period of time. It should also be noted that one of the signature apps, antelope ribs, has been removed from the menu.
I would have loved to have taken a loaf of the bread home with me. Sliced thin, it was light and tender on the inside with an exceptional light, but crisp and flaky crust. Unfortunately, for 2 people, they only served 2 thin slices. When the meal arrived, I asked for more. It arrived as we were finishing our lunch.
Several years ago, I had what is to date, the best shrimp and grits at the now-closed Kathleen’s Art Café in Plano. I’d offer up any of my worldly possessions for that recipe. All ingredients came together as one flavor that made my taste buds dance. Unfortunately, a while later, I ordered the same at the Lover’s loc and it was like eating soured dish water. But, that original taste is what I will forever and always hold as the gold standard for shrimp and grits.
Therefore, I ordered the shrimp and grits at Olenjacks. The star was the grits; spooned on the plate like a creamy mound of whipped potatoes. They looked wonderful and tasted just as they appeared. Then came the additional layers to which there were many. There were the grits, followed with mustard greens (amazingly mellow), andouille sausage, onion, razor thin slices of garlic, diced tomatoes and a pretty mound of spicy micro greens on top. Finally came about 6 good size shrimp. A mild gravy was ladled at the edge of the grits. But, the one thing missing was the “WOW” factor. With all the ingredients, there just wasn’t much flavor.
My lunch buddy had the chicken fried steak with predetermined sides of gravy and mashed potatoes and roasted cream corn. The potatoes were clumpy and tight and the corn was tasteless, but the chicken fried steak was out of this world. It could be cut with a fork – literally, and had a nice meaty inside with a flavorful, crunchy outside – no discernable oiliness from the deep frying. It was seasoned perfectly and didn’t even require any of the bland gravy.
So went my experience at Olenjack’s.
Too bad to hear about a less than great meal at Piccolo Mondo, I've never had a bad meal or service there. I'd certainly give them another shot.
While Al's was a childhood staple in our family (yes, dirt lot next to Don Davis), I think Simply Burgers is one of the better burgers in all of DFW.
Newer on the scene is Olenjacks, new american style and good.
Mariano's for tex-mex is good. You know about Mama's Pizza (best in town).
My Martini, sister site to Piranha, also has good food and a better bar scene.
Birraporetti's has a serviceable Sunday jazz brunch, otherwise meh.
Cacharel is a nice special occasion kinda place, with good, if not inventive, food. May be a little pricey.
Moni's on Randol Mill has pretty good northern italian, and its BYOB (somewhat rare around there).
I've actually had some decent meals at Marsala on 360. Its not what it used to be, but for a walk back in time its a decent value.
Well, more to the plain and simple, for my money, Al's Hamburgers cannot be beat - anywhere. Chili cheeseburger, house-cut fries and a Shiner - $8.39. The chili is tasty with just a little kick, AND it actually stays between the buns rather than down your arms, in your lap or on the table. Over many years, I keep returning for that good tasting, old fashioned burger.
Their history dates back to the 50's when Al had a flourishing Drive-In. As Arlington grew and land was scarfed up, he ended up with this good sized burger joint - now serving more than just burgers. But the "drive-in" style burger remains: a thin patty burger, dressed to your liking, partially wrapped in white paper - no plates or baskets here. The french fries are nested in the same white paper, but rest in a red-checked cardboard "boat".
Often, during evenings, Al is there meeting and greeting. On Fri, early evenings, the "entertainment" is Joe the Clown, who makes balloon "animals and apparel" for the kiddos.
Just north of I30, it can get pretty crowded when the Rangers are in town.
1001 NE Green Oaks Blvd # 103
Arlington, TX 76006
Oh man, I need to remind him about Al's! That place rules, we used to go there a lot when I was a kid. His office is on that side of town (er, well, sort of...) so maybe I can get him to go after work.
Theres a bike ride that I saw a paper posted about at River Legacy that ends with everyone going to eat at Al's, but when I went back to get the exact times the paper was gone. Anyone know about this?
I found a different article and perhaps what you referenced from a newspaper/TV station.
All the way at the bottom of this article also.
Not sure about you but the article mentions a health aspect...not sure if bike riding and terminating into a burger place is all that healthy (just my dos centavos).
Whoa! Thanks a ton. You certainly are helpful.
I agree totally with the 'health aspect'... it cracks me up! I don't mind it one bit, though. I used to go on a 14 mile (round trip) bicycle ride... to Marquez Bakery. I figured by the end of that I deserved a cookie the size of my head.
Great pizza place in S. Arlingon is Corky's Wood Fired Pizza
I have been on several occassions but the last time the toppings got a bit slender just make sure they put quite a bi like you like it. Other than that the pizza is great. It is at 20 & Little Rd just south btwn 20 and 67.
I happen to like Mercado Jaurez but the one on 360.
If you can talk your dad into First Chinese BBQ I would suggest that (I know you know about First Chinese) or even Bahn Mi at Ba Le - 2240 Browning Dr, 76010. Supposedly they freshly bake the bread!! I would skip going to eat there you can get them to go as service looks like an issue. Hard to mess up a sandwhich plus it meets his price range!!
I have heard good thing about Piccolo Mondo on Lamar Blvd and Collins up just north of 30 next to the Whole Foods. I have not personally been there.
Oooh.. it's weird that you mentioned piccolo mondo's not being good, because I actually had quite a frustratingly bad experience there myself.
My favorite restaurant is First Chinese! I love it. I've also been meaning to try Ba Le myself. I think i'll suggest Corky's-- I can't believe I've never tried that (or heard of it!) before. I'm typically a Mama's Pizza kind of girl but this is exactly what I'm looking for! Thanks! You're wonderful.
Still wondering what everyone else's favorite Arlington joints are!
PS- seeing your name, I wonder if you've tried that pho restaurant on 3040 just off of I-35? I think its called Ma Ma. I pass it every time I go to L&L's Hawaiian BBQ up there in Lewisville.
PSS- I believe in your suggestion for Corky's you mean between I-20 and 287 :).
I LOVE Piranhas. I haven't been to the new location in the Highlands but used to go to the one on the north side of Green Oaks all the time (eer, when I had money).
Do they still serve that little cold noodle appetizer?
I personally love the suggestion (as would my mom) but I'm afraid the very idea of a sushi bar, especially a 'modern' one, wouldn't fly for my dad. Thanks though!